Monday, 24 December 2012

What India really needs.

India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters’, or so says our country’s pledge. But you’ve only got to look at the news trending in the past week or so to realise that it is the biggest lie an individual is taught. In reality people have no time, concern or care for another person and the price of a human life in recent times has dipped below that of a vegetable. It is of little surprise then that things like rape, murder and other crimes get more prime time slots on our news channels than welfare and development. Also the police and the politicians who have been entrusted the honour and responsibility to rule over and look after the country’s interests are sadly the ones who have failed. As my college professor once said, ‘the country is truly going to the dogs’.

It is heartening to see people taking to the streets and the social media websites to protest and also put forward their views on how to make our country a better place to live. There have been a range of suggestions from amending the laws, changing the government and giving more power to the police force. But in reality what this country really needs is a vigilante or a group of vigilantes - someone in a hood or a cape who will fight crime and protect those who cannot protect themselves. Before you accuse me of being high on Hollywood or South Indian films, just for once open your minds and imagine. Can’t a rich dude use his money to train himself in the art of fighting and buy the best tools to fight crime? I admit it is not easy, but it isn’t impossible either. Think about it!

A symbol like this in our skies would make the hardest of criminals s**t his pants. 
I have come across people suggesting that we need a person like Dexter who will kill bad people and rid the society of such scums. I would be totally happy if there was such a person working behind the scenes, but what India really needs is a symbol. A person killing in the dark will only go unnoticed by the people, but a symbol will strike fear into every person thinking of committing a crime. The situation in India is not very unlike what plagued Gotham when Bruce Wayne took it upon himself to save his city. Our country too is under the siege of fearless criminals, corrupt politicians and inept cops. And just like Batman, we need someone who can save us. Just imagine how safe the girls, their parents or the senior citizens will feel knowing that there is someone almost always watching from above ready to strike at the slightest sniff of danger.

A single person will find it a tad difficult to patrol a country as big as ours and that is why a group of vigilantes makes more sense. They can start off at one city and then branch out to the other parts of the country. Imagine seeing posters on walls and lamp posts, media going crazy trying to uncover the real identities while only adding to the mystery of who they really are. Legends and stories will be made and social media will be abuzz. Criminals will soon have no place to hide and will have to think twice and pray to God before committing a crime. Our country strongly believes in spoon feeding a child so he or she doesn't have to think, and these vigilantes will use this to their advantage by feeding the fear of doing something wrong and very soon I reckon we shall see a dip in the crime rate. It will give us all a taste of freedom which only our forefathers got to experience when they freed the country from the clutches of the Britishers.

But having said that, I also do believe that there is a flipside to giving a person or a group too much power. The things they do will more often than not be against the constitution and the laws of the country and could very well lead to a dictatorship or a parallel government in the future. If such a situation was to arise, we might again have to take to the streets to fight the very people who helped us clean our society in the first place. But for now seeing as how things are bleak and the government is powerless against these anti-social elements, I wouldn’t mind handing over the power to someone if they could guarantee results.

We are currently treading a thin line between frustration towards this apparent apathy and the desperation to get something done. And it is never good to get an individual desperate, because there is no telling what he could end up doing. The idea of a vigilante protecting our streets may be fictitious at best, but it is not something that should be labelled as a childish idea and thrown out the window. All I want to do through this post is to express my opinion and hope it reaches a rich dude with an open mind and a passion and desperation to do something for his country.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Smartphone Addiction: Do you own the phone or is it the other way round?

It is the year 2020 and the human race has been enslaved by the machines. But instead of a self-aware artificial intelligence system like the Skynet, it is the simple smartphones that have taken over the world this time around. Sounds very Hollywoodish? If the results of a recent survey are anything to go by, then such a scenario is much closer to being a reality than a plot of a Sci-Fi film.

Countries like the UK, USA and South Korea are the first to have been affected. In a country like UK usage of smartphones have increased nearly 40-times in the past 2-3 years. Of the people surveyed about 37% of adults and a whopping 60% of teenagers admitted that they are highly addicted to their smartphone. In the US about one third of the population would rather give up sex for a week than a mobile phone and a shocking 70% were also willing to give up alcohol for their phone. The level of addiction in South Korea isn’t far behind either, with the country being the only place in the world where you will find rehab clinics for internet and smartphone addicts.

I for one am already a victim of these deadly smartphones. Besides lusting over most of the phones in the market, I’m unhealthily attached to my current phone. If you shadow me throughout the day, you will know what I mean! On an average I check my phone every 5 minutes. Besides calls and text messages, I check my mails, Facebook, Twitter and all the latest news on my phone. In the mornings even before I’m fully awake, the first thing I do is check my phone to see if I’ve received any emails or updates when I was asleep. I also enjoy reading the day’s news on my phone rather than on a newspaper. It has become such an important part of my life that I can’t imagine how I lived with a feature phone for so many years.

If this is what slavery means, I am afraid the smartphones’ plan of taking over the world is already working. Don’t trust me? Look at how many people stand in lines to be the first ones to get their hands on a new iPhone, or how the Nexus 4 sold out in less than 20 minutes after Google launched it last week. These are troubled signs people and it seems a war for survival is almost upon us!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

A plea to anyone out there

America, I believe has the best construction workers and related technologies in the world. Actually it's an understatement. Let me rephrase it. America I believe has the best construction workers and related technologies in this and all known universes. Before you categorise it as propaganda and dismiss it, I will tell you my reasons.

On 29th June 2011 Manhattan was destroyed by Decepticons, despite the valiant efforts of the Autobots. Yet on 27th April 2012 when Loki decided to attack earth, Manhattan was up and running as if nothing had happened. Though he went on to wreck havoc and destroy much of the city again, I cannot imagine how the workers rebuilt the entire city in such a short period! I'm sure if I were to go to Manhattan today, every thing would be intact as if nothing every happened there. A huge deal, considering how the technologically advanced robots from Cybertron couldn't rebuild their planet after one civil war!

But my question is, don't the American workers go on any sort of strikes, seeing their hard work being destroyed again and again? In India if our cities were destroyed so frequently, our workers would go on hunger strikes, stop working till their demands were met and while they were at it, vandalise some more things to vent their frustrations! They would demand a pay raise and the union leader would demand a meeting with the leaders of the alien race to have a 'talk'. Is it any wonder then that no alien race wants to destroy Mumbai or Delhi? They know we wouldn't back down so easily!

I find it hilarious imagining all the things that could happen when an alien race would attack India. Our primary weapon would be to scare them with our huge population. We would gather in huge numbers everywhere they go. And if they somehow get past it, we would unleash our secret weapon; Indian politicians. The aliens will have no clue what hit them! Politicians from every known party would rush to use aliens to gain political mileage against the opposition. Imagine looking at big banners with a pot bellied politician shaking hands with an alien!!

I'm eagerly waiting for such a day and I hope I live to see such a day. Thoughts like these I believe are either influenced by the Avengers films that I loved or because I'm watching one too many 'The Big Bang Theory' episodes everyday!! Whatever it might be, all I want to do through this post is to invite the aliens to come and destroy our country and give the Americans a breather. It is only fair that even we are given a chance to test our survival skills!
So if there is anyone out there watching us and planning to make contact, I would like to invite you to our Incredible India!!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Mumbai local - Lifeline or life-sucker?

There is the first class, the second class, the third class and much below that at the very bottom comes the cattle class. I have the rare privilege of travelling in the cattle class or as we Mumbaikars proudly like to call them, the local trains, every day.

Like thousands of Mumbaikars I travel to office everyday by public transport. But instead of getting into the trains like normal humans do, we get dumped, or to put it politely, herded into the metal box. Trust me when I say, travelling by train day in day out is nothing less than a main event fight night. The only difference here being instead of two fighters slogging it out for gold, here it is a free-for-all. The 'gold' in this case is a place to sit or during peak hours a place to stand without being mashed from all sides. So you can imagine when I say that the journey each way feels like a lifetime. Two lifetimes if I don't get a place!

Look carefully and you shall find two trains hidden in the crowd.

Try as I might I cannot find a single point that I like about the local trains in Mumbai except that it is the fastest way to my office, albeit not the most comfortable. I hate the crowded trains. It is like a living entity in itself, living and breathing a different life. I hate it when people forget simple manners and etiquette in their quest to find a tiny amount of space. Though I do generally tend to slip in and out of the crowd, there have been times when I have been elbowed on my face or stamped on my foot. I hate it when a man having got no time in the morning to visit the loo, let's loose an anonymous fart so toxic that if used to make a bomb can destroy half the world. What’s more, that person will be the first one to shout and blame someone else. This incident happened on a Monday morning of all days on my way to work. I had to get off two stations before my destination to breathe in fresh air. No need to state the obvious but it destroyed my morning all together. The only other smell that can rival it, is the ‘chameli ka tel’ on a guy’s head. Travel to Bandra by train and more often than not you shall find such a guy. And what's more, he will be of that exact height so that when he stands in front of you his head will be just under your nostrils. Ever heard of nose hair burning? This rare phenomenon happens only when travelling in a local train. I also hate the so called 'seats' which are basically wooden planks you park your asses on and also the fans that do spin, but do not what a breeze is. 

But above all these, what I hate the most is when a woman enters a general compartment during peak hours and in that acute scarcity of space expects to be treated like a lady. Yes lady I will give you as much space as you want, but tell me where the hell do I bring it from? And if that wasn’t enough, she goes and gets a small kid and expects more sympathy! If there was no place for you in the first place, where do I get some for your kid? Haven't you ever heard of a ladies' compartment or a ladies special train? We grumble and complain but at the end give her a space enough to seat two grown up men. This happened to me this evening on my way back from office and is what prompted me to write this post. If I hadn't written this on the train, I'm sure I would have exploded like a time bomb.

So this is how life is inside the local trains. They maybe the lifeline of the city, but they surely suck the life out of you.